New Clients Through Referrals
A freelancer will often work on multiple shorter duration projects in his or her chosen profession. For instance, a carpenter may spend two days on a short kitchen countertop rennovation, followed by a longer one week assignment on a bathroom upgrade. With satisfied customers, the freelancer quickly builds trust and credibility in the marketplace.
A referral is when a previous happy (hopefully) client provides a recommendation to a new client regarding your work. It can serve a crucial role in facilitating assignments by future clients.
Automating the referral process
When getting started as a freelancer it is quite feasible that, when asked for a referral from a past client, one can just request and provide the contact information to the new client directly. This has the advantage of being quite informal, and it provides a convenient way to get in touch with past clients. However, there are some challenges with this approach, including:
- Such a referral can only be obtained after it has been requested by the new client. Some clients, in the interest of time, may not actually make the effort to contact you for a referral to a previous client, especially if they are already aware of other trusted freelancers who can be contacted.
- It can be more time consuming to contact past clients once a referral is requested. And they may not remember the details of your performance on the freelance contract if too much time has elapsed since the contract was completed.
- When many people are seeking referrals, this approach may not scale very well. That is, it may be OK to manually contact past clients for a few referrals, but this process could quickly become quite tedious if referals are being requested with a sufficiently high frequency.
Because of these reasons, there is an advantage of automating the referall process. An automated referall process could involve the implementation of a procedure where previous clients are automatically prompted for a referral after the completion of an assignment by the freelancer.
Automation of referall through ratings
As an example, at greatesthire.com a referral process is automated by employing a rating system. At the end of an assignment, the client can provide a quantitative (numerical) rating on several aspects of the freelancer’s performance. A qualitative (text) rating may be provided also.
When a freelancer has obtained several positive ratings, it becomes much easier for future clients to trust that the freelancer will do a good job for future clients also. Because the ratings are received as soon as the assignment is complete, the information is quite timely and accurate. It also takes out the additional work of having to request ratings on demand by future clients, thereby the speed at which a freelancer is hired can be expedited significantly.
Another advantage to positive ratings is that it provides an opportunity to possibly raise service fees. As many clients are in fact happy to pay a slight premium for higher quality reliable work, a freelancer who has established a track record of strong performance, as exemplified by multiple positive ratings on related tasks, can charge a service premium for future assignments. For example, a skilled carpenter who has rebuilt several kitchen cabinets could consider charging $25/hr for the work, when a novice carpenter may need to accept a more modest hourly rate of $15-$20/hr.Post by: Greatest Hire